A little windy sail on a Bank Holiday

Hello Sailor .... RFA ship in the back ground ... smile in the fore ground.

This weekend was a bank holiday weekend in UK, thats a little holiday. I'd also booked Friday as holiday for this turned the bank holiday into a long weekend. Yaaaa ....

The weather promised to be good so Thursday after work I headed off to Alskade. Tracy and Lulu were at home until Saturday so I planned to do a few jobs and chill.

Jobs wise, I managed to fit a small perspexs window on the aft cabin wash boards. I painted the main cabin wash boards for inside and out. Scrubbed down the deck and cockpit and having discovered a little leak in the companionway, dismantled the top hatch and then sikaflex sealed the leak. Finally I managed to tighten the life lines running down Alskade's sides, the previous owner had tied them off with cordage which was beginning to stretch, making the lines sag. 

So jobs done under a lovely May sun Saturday evening the rest of the crew arrived. Tracy and I enjoyed a classy evening meal of battered jumbo sausage and chips with curry sauce before popping the cork on a bottle of Port and settling in for the evening. 

Setting sail under a cloudy skies.

Jobs done the time arrived for us to get Alskade out on the water for a little sail ..... we left south down Marina under motor and cruised up the river flowing the deep water channel before swinging right into Plymouth sound. We chugged out through the bridge - for those unfamiliar with the bridge its a left over relic from the War when the entrance to Plymouth Harbour was blocked to stop enemy ships and U-Boats entering. Sailing or motoring out through it is a exercise in itself and I have heard many a tail of ships being de-masted or battered while passing through the tall red and green towers.

Once out of the bridge we swung into the wind and raised our sails. Tracy, being the experienced sailor and self appointed skipper (please dont hurt me when you read this) took control of the sails whilst I tried to keep my nose in the wind - this proved a to be harder task then usual as the wind was up and the tide was on the turn. 

Once the sails, both Jib and Main were up we had a great time heeling over and bombing along. But sadly time and tide wait for no man and so soon we had to come about and head for home. 

Cruising back into Plymouth and the marina the weather growing steadily winder and darker we finally docked and tided off much for an exhausted Captain Lulu's releif.

Main sail flaked, Jib furled and a cracking Ham salad sarnie down our necks we enjoyed a little down time siting in the cockpit and chatting before finally locking up and sadly going home.

Ship log entry reads -

27-05-19 quick sail from Southdown Marina out into Plymouth sound - through Bridge - under motor. Motor sail back through Bridge.

Grey Skies - wind force 5-6, white crests and moderate swell. Spitting.


Alskade, the new blog.


Where do I begin? Maybe at the beginning?

Anybody who has read my blog before will be familiar with my bushcraft and survival background. This blog, or its new theme at least, is all about sailing.

Sailing? I hear you cry ...

How come?

Well my friend, that's a long story. It seems when I left the army I carried a few battle scars that were not so visible and recently I had a bit of a break down and was diagnosed with PTSD.

For me mindfulness and being able to live in the moment have proven to be great aids in fighting off the insidious effects of PTSD.

Back in the day, bushcraft gave me that outlet but after my move to Portsmouth and there onward that outlet was gone. Huge emotional turmoil and life changes compounded the problem. Grief and guilt piled in with maybe not so unpredictable results. I suppose it was inevitable that eventually something would snap.

Fortunately for me I have a very clever wife who has a sailing background and she realised sailing would give me back that which I had lost.

Hence earlier this year we bought Apache Chieftain, a Westerly Chieftain, in need of a bit of TLC.

The Westerly Chieftain is a British built sloop, built in the 1970s, she a rare beast to as only 75 were made. Twin keeled with a 1.3 meter draft she sails like a dream.

However Apache Chieftain seemed a bit to macho and aggressive for such a fine vessel so it was decided to rename her ...

  1.  darling or sweetheart

Was the name decide upon. 

She is a sweetheart too. 

But she does need some TLC and at the moment that's where we are at. 

And this is where the blog comes in ... hopefully I will be able to record everything that goes on ... Alskade, is my therapy, my hobby and hopefully she will be a magic carpet to an adventure or two.

So people, I hope you join me on the journey